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Posts Tagged ‘Democracy’

That a thing is true, is no reason that it should be said, but that it should be done.
    —     Cardinal John Henry Newman
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On This Day In:
2021 Tomorrow President Biden Starts Wrestling
Good-Bye #45
2020 The Burden Of Faith
On To Superbowl LIV (54)!!
2019 Are Your Dogs Barking?
Dangerous Waistcoats
2018 And 40+ Years Later?
2017 He Is Alone
2016 Compensation
2015 Charlie Redux
2014 The Crux
2013 Erosion And Rechannelling
Alliance, n.
2012 How Many Thought… (One I Know Of)
Choices And Decisions
2011 Speed Spoils
Simply Intended
2010 A Second 4 Hour Jog

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Conversations about democracy, technology and the economic dominance of surveillance capitalism are now inseparable.  Looking ahead to the year 2030, I put my bet on democracy because it’s the best idea humanity has ever had, despite all of its obvious imperfections.  When I wake up every morning, I’m thinking about what I can do to contribute to this so that our societies mobilize to double down on democracy.  This begins with saying out loud that the current state of affairs is intolerable.  As citizens, we begin by joining together in our communities, organizations, associations, political networks to demand an end to commercial surveillance.  Our lawmakers hear from the tech lobbyists every day.  They need to feel us at their backs instead.  We are poised at a new beginning, and not a moment too late.
    —    Shoshana Zuboff
From her interview:  “Living up to the promises of the digital age
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  1 / 8 February 2021
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On This Day In:
2020 Still On The Obstacle Course?
Thunder
2019 Expecting A December Correction
2018 Dominoes II (Update From Last Year’s Post)
2017 Dominoes
2016 Itchin’
2015 In The Not So Distant Future
2014 Sources
2013 Three Essentials
2012 Just Looking
2011 Religious Lessons
2010 View From Under The Bus… (A mid-term report card on the Obama Administration. Long, but still worth reading for historical perspective.)

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Personal autonomy and democracy are under assault from surveillance capitalism.  And yet today’s tech industry is largely unregulated, having emerged in the midst of an era of deregulation and defunding of enforcement agencies.  This has allowed tech giants to behave as unelected governments.  Their communications systems have become central to our way of life, as the impact of this week’s Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp outage underscores, but they have their thumb on the scale, amplifying content that triggers fear and outrage because doing so maximizes profits.
The sad truth is that the unregulated tech industry produces products that are unsafe.  Congress has faced the challenge of dangerous products in the past.  When the food and medicine industries were unsafe, Congress created the Food and Drug Administration.  When petrochemical companies dumped toxic waste indiscriminately, Congress approved a series of environmental laws.  Just like tech companies today, the affected industries claimed they would not be able to operate with regulation, but that turned out to be wrong.  Now we need something like an FDA for technology products, designed to prevent harmful technologies from coming to market.  For qualifying products, it would set safety standards, require annual safety audits and certification as a condition for every product, and impose huge financial penalties for any harms that result.  There should also be amendments to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to create better incentives for Internet platforms.
Congress also needs to protect people’s privacy from relentless surveillance.  My preference would be for Congress to ban surveillance capitalism just as it banned child labor in 1938.  (The many industries that employed child labor complained then that they could not survive without it.)  At a minimum, Congress must ban third-party use of sensitive data, such as that related to health, location, financial transactions, web browsing and app data.
The third area for legislation is competition, where Congress needs to update antitrust laws for the 21st century.  The six-hour outage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp illustrated for many one downside of monopoly:  absolute dependence on a service.
All of this may be true in Mark Zuckerberg’s mind, but the design of Facebook’s business model suggests that growth and profits are the only factors driving “the company we know.”
Based on the evidence of the past five years, one might say that Internet platforms have launched an attack against democracy and self-determination.  It is a battle they will win unless voters and policymakers join forces to reassert their power.  We have been losing the battle since 2016, but I would like to believe that this week was a turning point.
We have the power.  The question is whether we have the courage to use it.
     —     Roger McNamee
From the article:  “Facebook Will Not Fix Itself
Appearing in:  Time Magazine; dtd: 25 Oct / 1 Nov 2021
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On This Day In:
2020 Two Quotes Which Remind Me Of Our Lame Duck President
Still Running
2019 I’m Up For Trying
60 Day Health / Weight Update (Nov 2019)
2018 #PresidentBoneSpur
2017 My Staggering Confusion
Zapped!!!
2016 And Bloggers?
2015 Ethical Energy
2014 Are You Likely To Defend It?
2013 Might As Well
2012 The Long And Short Of It
2011 Bravery

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Image of CA 2021 vote proof
Above is the image of my proof of vote for our upcoming election (on 14 September 2021), in the attempt to recall the Democratic Governor of California (Gavin Newsom).  My mail-in ballot has been received and counted.  I voted NO.
History has shown us a few rich Republicans can subvert the will of the Democratic majority in California by spending a few million dollars to fund a recall signature petition.  Republicans know they can’t win a statewide election during normal voting cycles because Democrats can gear up to inform the populace and then get out the vote.  To get around this, Republicans fund recalls during off-cycle years knowing far fewer voters participate in these “spot” elections.  And traditionally, the Democrats fail to vote in much larger numbers than Republicans.  So, their minority becomes a majority based on poor turnout.
The unfortunate thing is that should the Republicans succeed, they will have a good chance to also flip the U.S. Senate if an “elderly” Dianne Feinstein is unable to complete her term.  So, a two-fer for a little pocket change (to them)…
Stop this blatant attempt to “buy” the governorship of California.  Vote NO on the recall!!
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On This Day In:
2020 Give Me A Minute To Think About That…
November 3rd Is Coming!
An Eye For An Eye
2019 Is #45 Warning Alabama Again?
Day 11: 49ers Win
2018 Worry (x2)
2017 Still Working
Gold In The Morning Sun
2016 Power Inside
2015 Sometimes I Feel Small
2014 It Slipped Away
2013 Corollary
2012 Working Retired
2011 The Web Is Not Authoritative! (Really?)

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Democracy is not partisan.  That’s where I begin this conversation.  Who I choose once I’m inside the voting booth is my business.  Ensuring my ability to get inside is the responsibility of government.  I’m a progressive Democrat in part because I want the system to be fair.  We should not be guaranteed victory, but we should be guaranteed access.  Anyone who believes in our democracy should hold that to be a good.
    —    Stacey Abrams
Quoted by:  Gilad Edelman
In an interview:  “Stacey Abrams on How We’ll Beat Back Voter Suppression
Published in:  Wired Magazine
Dtd:  15 September 2020
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On This Day In:
2020 Give Me A Minute To Think About That…
November 3rd Is Coming!
An Eye For An Eye
2019 Is #45 Warning Alabama Again?
Day 11: 49ers Win
2018 Worry (x2)
2017 Still Working
Gold In The Morning Sun
2016 Power Inside
2015 Sometimes I Feel Small
2014 It Slipped Away
2013 Corollary
2012 Working Retired
2011 The Web Is Not Authoritative! (Really?)

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It is necessary to the happiness of a man that he be mentally faithful to himself.  Infidelity does not consist in believing or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe.
    —     Thomas Paine
[If Republicans believe in Democracy and the right of the people to choose their government’s leaders, why have they spent almost ten months denying the results of (and trying to overturn) an election they lost so decisively?  And why have they spent the same amount of time trying to limit the ability of voters to vote in future elections?  Maybe T. Paine has explained the unhappiness (and rage) of current Republicans.  When will the true political conservatives stand up and challenge the crazies who have taken over their party?  Lord knows, they’ve been wandering in the dessert for over forty years now…    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 A Tiny And Fragile World
Your Lyin’ Eyes
2019 Day 1: Done
#IncompetentDonald Fails On All Three
2018 I Put It Down To Bad Teachers
Day 34: In And Out
2017 And The Future Is Now
2016 I Am
2015 Positively Aiming Higher
2014 Suspicious Minds
2013 We Are Not Alone
2012 Lawyer, n.
2011 Each Day Remember…
2010 Impossible Dreams of Camelot

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The simplest truths often meet the sternest resistance and are slowest in getting general acceptance.
    —    Frederick Douglass
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On This Day In:
2020 In Business And In Politics
A Free Show
2019 What Is True For War Is Also True For Elections
2018 Start By Trying
Day 4: Difficult Day
2017 Outlasting Division
2016 Said The Man Who Trained To Fight For A Living
2015 Tripping On Treasure
2014 The Flower Of Light
2013 Eye Catching
2012 The Holstee Manifesto
2011 Three Crooners For The Shower
The Soldier’s Faith
Vacation, Books And Lots Of Movies

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As long as the differences and diversities of mankind exist, democracy must allow for compromise, for accommodation, and for the recognition of differences.
    —    Eugene McCarthy
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On This Day In:
2020 Why #LyingDonald Hurts The US
2019 Blow Between Your Ears
2018 Thinking Ahead
2017 I’d Like To Try
2016 Or Blog (And Bound)
2015 Welcome The Virtuous
2014 Closing The Gap?
2013 On Parenting
2012 What Knowledge Is
2011 The Indefinite Accumulation Of Property

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Democracy relies on an informed and engaged public responding in rational ways to the real-life facts and challenges before us.  But a growing number of Americans are untethered from that.  “They’re not on the same epistemological grounding, they’re not living in the same worlds,” says Whitney Phillips, a professor at Syracuse who studies online disinformation.  “You cannot have a functioning democracy when people are not at the very least occupying the same solar system.”
    —    Charlotte Alter
From her article:  “Down The Rabbit Hole
Appearing in:  Time Magazine, dtd:  21/28 September 2020
Also appearing online at:  https://time.com/5887437/conspiracy-theories-2020-election/
Under the title:  “How Conspiracy Theories Are Shaping the 2020 Election—and Shaking the Foundation of American Democracy
[I am currently a paid subscriber to “Time Magazine“.  This quote appears without permission or authorization.  I do not (and have not) received any compensation for posting this quote from either the author or the magazine.  I am not claiming any ownership of the quote, nor am I promoting the purchase of the magazine.  It’s merely something I read and found interesting – so, I’m passing it along to anyone who reads this blog post.    —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 A Different Premise
2019 Can Too
2018 To Get Strength
Drip, Drip, Drip
2017 Bricolage Art
2016 Just A Shame
2015 Treasures Of The Mind
2014 Not Quite Exceeded Reach
2013 Who’s Side?
2012 Why I Joined The Army And Not The Navy…
2011 Is It Your Turn Yet?
Just Trippin’

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A cynic is one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
     —    Oscar Wilde
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On This Day In:
2019 Something Very Different
2018 For Most Of Us
2017 Stories We Need On Life’s Edge
2016 Heart Trouble
2015 From The Inside Out
2014 Alone And Free
2013 Superstition Is Your Way
2012 Escape Hatches
2011 Sing Like No One Is Listening

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In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith.  Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects.
     —    J. William Fulbright
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On This Day In:
2019 Fostering Debate
2018 The Births Of Spring
2017 Drug Epidemic In America
2016 Word Up, Chuck!
2015 Sometimes I Wonder About Things
2014 Still Racing
2013 Anew
2012 Make Both
2011 Are You Happy Yet?

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One lesson is to have diverse voices at the table, to make sure democracy is retained.  But there are also things that we can’t put price tags on.  Some things are part of our public welfare, and we should not look at a balance book to do them.
    —     Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
(Discussing the poisoning of the Flint, Michigan public water supply.)
As quoted by:  Belinda Luscombe
In her interview titled: “8 Questions
Appearing in: Time Magazine, dtd: 9 July 2019
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On This Day In:
2019 And Yet, I Believe
2018 Beats
First Step: Starting Cleansing (Again)
2017 Effective Stimuli
2016 Dave’s Not Here, Man
2015 Blink
2014 The Struggle To Educate America Continues…
2013 On Elections
2012 Warm Smiles
Pick Your Poison
2011 Straight Shooters

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It’s a simple fact that technology has been weaponized by private companies against democracy.  Corporations are not people.  They don’t have souls.  They’re institutions designed to make money.  And the way the government has always dealt with them is to regulate them to the point where they cease being dangerous to the public.
    —    Barry C. Lynn
Executive Director
Open Markets Institute
As quoted by:  Romesh Ratnesar
In his article:  “Trust
Appearing in:  Time Magazine,  dtd:  16 September 2019
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On This Day In:
2019 Does Terrible But Not Important Count?
2018 Have You Stretched Today?
The Original
2017 Being Nice
2016 Zero To Some = Most
2015 Born More Obligated
2014 Rage And Fury
2013 Successful Children
2012 For God So Loved The World
2011 Go Cheeseheads!!
Structured Mentality

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday (5 Dec 2019), that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.  “Our democracy is what is at stake.  The president leaves us no choice but to act.
As she was leaving the press briefing platform she was asked if she hated President Donald Trump.   Pelosi turned and pointed at the reporter asking the question and said:  “I don’t hate anybody.  We don’t hate anybody.  Not anybody in the world.  Don’t accuse me.
She returned to the podium to continue:  “I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence.  I think he is cruel when he doesn’t deal with helping our dreamers.  I think he’s in denial about the climate crisis.
Impeachment, she emphasized, was about protecting the “Constitution of the United States,” rather than about policy disagreements or dislike of the president which could wait for the election.
As a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me.  I don’t hate anyone.
Speaker Pelosi continued, saying she prayed for the president, and, in fact did so every day.
As she turned to leave the stage she concluded:  “So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.
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On This Day In:
2018 Seek A Clear View
2017 Living With Myself
2016 Still Looking In Mirrors?
2015 Fear No Evil
2014 And Nothing Can Be As Tragic As…
2013 Your Tax Dollars At Work
2012 Historically Unacceptable
2011 Niners Are NFC West Division Champions!!
The Essence Of Leadership

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[Journalist] independence is no small thing.  It marks the distinction between tyranny and democracy.  And in a world where budding authoritarians have advanced by blurring the difference, there was a clarity in the spectacle of a tyrant’s fury visited up a man armed only with a pen.  Because the strongmen of the world only look strong.  All despots live in fear of their people.  To see genuine strength, look to the spaces where individuals dare to describe what’s going on in front of them.
    —    Karl Vick
From his article:  “The Guardians And The War On Truth
From:  Time Magazine, dtd:  December 24th / 31st, 2018
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On This Day In:
2018 Unsaid And Undone
2017 Evidence Of Faith
2016 Patience Is A Virtue
2015 Slow Faith
2014 Not In Any Sense
2013 The Circus On TV
2012 To Be Stronger
2011 Are You Sure?

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